Antelope Valley, CA. is high desert country; clear, dry and cold in the winter, clear, hot and dry in the summer, with a spring so poppy prolific it inspired Dorothy’s famous nap. Gentle hills give way to the San Gabriel Mountains and looking out my window I see snow dusting the tops. Blasted by Santa Ana winds these mountains are bare dusty moonscapes of jutting ragged rock, huge boulders and loose gravel.
I feel no ancestral tug telling me this is home, not yet.
The streets here are laid out in a grid straight as arrows until they hit the hills. Then they become winding twirling ribbons disappearing into the folds of the hill, curving around each other then laid gently upon the land. “Unto these Hills ‘I think as I drive.
Unto These Hills is a dramatic outdoor play of the Cherokee people. As a little girl my first viewing of the drama brought me to tears. Now all I can think is “Unto These Hills’ and it has become my mantra, my link to my beloved south.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to hide in the Antelope Valley. Wide open spaces with tumbleweeds racing across the open desert broken only by the occasional Joshua Tree make it difficult for even a jack rabbit to find sanctuary. Ravens and red tailed hawks ride the thermals keeping watch for darting prey and occasional land on the outstretched arms of the Joshua Trees. These trees of the lily family, spiked and misshaped as a Dr. Suese creation, hold out their arms to the cold blue sky and again I think “Unto These Hills” as the hawk preens.
As the sun rises sparkling through the prism in my kitchen window my mug of hot tea sends swirling steam into the air like the roads that rise into the distance. I am once again drawn to the mountain view. With no large vegetation on the slopes, just sage and low juniper, it is easy to see each path “Unto These Hills.” Maybe something waits for me here.